You have a big job as the labor coach. You are the main person who will:
Whether you are helping the mother breathe or giving her a backrub, you will also be a familiar face on a hectic day. Just being there counts for a lot. Here are some tips for getting prepared.
Labor coaches should go to childbirth classes with the mother-to-be before her due date. These classes will help you learn how to comfort and support her when the big day arrives.
Get to know the hospital. Take a tour of the hospital prior to the birth. A tour may be part of the childbirth classes. Talk with the staff on the labor and delivery unit to get an idea of what will happen on the big day.
Know what the mom expects. You and the mother should talk ahead of time about what should happen on the day of delivery.
Natural childbirth is very hard work. A woman may decide on natural childbirth at first, but find that the pain is too much to bear when she is in labor. Talk with her ahead of time about how she wants you to respond at this point.
Write down a plan. A written plan for the labor and delivery will help make things clear ahead of time. Of course, when the contractions are in high gear, many of those decisions may change. This is OK. Give her your full support around how she wants to get through her labor and delivery.
You might be at the hospital for many hours. So remember to bring things to the hospital for yourself, such as:
It may take a long time for the baby to be born. Be prepared to wait. Labor and delivery can be a long process. Be patient.
Petrie K, Larimore WL. Management of labor. In: Ratcliffe SD, Baxley EG, Cline MK, Sakornbut EL, eds. Family Medicine Obstetrics. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2008:chap 14.
Klaus MH, Kennel JH, Edwards WH. Care of the mother, father, and infant. In: Martin RJ, Fanaroff AA, Walsh MC, eds. Fanaroff and Martin's Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. 9th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 33.
Updated by: Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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